Americana | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

Tommy Hitchcock and the Golden Age of American Polo.

Jul 1st, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jared Paul Stern, Sport | by Jared Paul Stern

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Will hordes of hoi polloi head out to the Hamptons this summer to watch a bunch of South Americans prance around on a polo field? Not likely. But back in the ‘30s it was a real crowd pleaser. “Every weekend this summer thousands of hot-dog munching spectators have crowded the polo centers of Long Island,” LIFE noted in 1938. “They paid 50¢ each to see socialites, expensive horses, rough-riding action. But mostly they paid to see Tommy Hitchcock, the world’s greatest polo player.”

The fact that he was unabashedly patrician did not stop Hitchcock from becoming a national hero. Under his leadership the U.S. hadn’t lost an international polo match to England since 1921, when Winston Churchill and King George V watched him trounce the Brits on their home turf. He was a born horseman, but his success on the field had more to do with bringing an American aggressiveness to what had always been a gentleman’s game. 45,000 hot dog munchers turned out to watch the opening day of the 1930 Westchester Cup. Fewer than 3,000 were at the Hamptons Cup final last summer.

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Levi’s Vintage Clothing | Treasure Island and the Electric Rodeo.

Jun 17th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher, San Francisco | by Jake Gallagher

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In 1939, as the World’s Fair rolled into San Francisco, Levi Strauss and Co. knew they had to put on quite a show for their hometown audience. The then eighty-six year old company delivered with an attraction that was both technologically advanced enough to match the forward thinking atmosphere of the fair, and endearing enough to stay true to Levi’s down home roots. “The World’s Only Mechanical Rodeo” featured thirty-one wooden puppets based off of real life rodeo stars. These figurines, which of course were outfitted from head to spurs in pint sized Levi’s attire, would spring to life to act out a full rodeo, much to the amazement of the bay-side audience.

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L.L. Bean Boat and Tote | The Summertime Sidekick.

Jun 3rd, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher, Maine | by Jake Gallagher

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When you break it down, a summer weekend getaway comes down to three simple things: a sandy beach, a cold beer, and an L.L. Bean Boat and Tote. Okay, maybe you could toss a few other ingredients into that recipe (a bikinied lady co-pilot certainly wouldn’t hurt) but it’s hard to top the simplicity of just tossing a Boat and Tote into your trunk and taking off for the shore.





Andy Warhol and Brooks Brothers.

Jun 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Art, Jake Gallagher, Made in New York, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

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Having clothed all manner of politicians, presidents, actors, and authors over the years, Brooks Brothers’ lifetime client roster reads like a veritable who’s who of American icons, but few names among that list stand out quite like Andy Warhol’s. As the ring leader of New York’s mid-century Pop Art explosion, Warhol does not immediately strike as the standard Brooks Brother’s customer, but throughout his fifty-eight years the artist remained one of the shop’s most dedicated clients, amassing a wardrobe that was almost entirely composed of Brooks Brothers staples.

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When Evel Came to Cooperville.

May 13th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher, Motorcycles, Motorsports | by Jake Gallagher

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Evel Knievel slides & film, 1972

Garrett Colton’s story begins like many others: a grandson travels home to visit his family and uncovers an heirloom. Only this story is a little bit different because Colton didn’t just discover a familial trinket, he unearthed a national treasure.

While Garrett only entered into this tale a couple years ago, the story really begins back in the early seventies when his grandfather Jack Cooper, an Oklahoma car dealer, met a salesman of a different nature. During a trip to Las Vegas, Cooper was introduced to Evel Knievel by a mutual friend, and the two men hit it off instantly. Knievel and Cooper were kindred spirits – middle American straight shooters with a taste for spectacle, and at the close of their meeting Knievel turned to his newfound friend and said, “I may just come to Oklahoma and jump your cars.” And just like that a few weeks later Knievel came rolling on into town.

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America’s “Forgotten” Vacation Destinations

Apr 11th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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Americans just don’t vacation like they used to. Cross country road trips, picturesque mountain resorts, and far off seaside towns have been replaced by “staycations,” transcontinental cruises, and brief weekend jaunts to the city. The glory days of Griswold-ian journeys, Borscht belt summers, and month long excursions across the midwest are now behind us, and in their wake many of America’s once mighty vacation destinations, such as the five spots below, have begun to fade off into obscurity.





Willy Vlautin Tells It Like It Is.

Mar 20th, 2014 | Categories: Al James, Americana, Books | by Al James

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Has the recent finale of HBO’s True Detective left you jonesing for more pulpy American grit? Do you like your heroes broken-hearted yet courageous, desperate but loyal? Does your hard luck story require just the thinnest beam of light to pierce the looming darkness? Then author Willy Vlautin is your guy.

A Reno, Nevada native, Vlautin moved North to Portland, Oregon in the nineties to paint houses. When he wasn’t up on the ladder he wrote and played in bands. He founded, and still fronts, Richmond Fontaine, one the most-loved rock bands to come out of the Northwest. Starting with The Motel Life in 2007, he has published four novels that fit on the shelf next to Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son and Larry Brown’s Big Bad Love. Immensely talented company, but Vlautin’s work is at home with these greats.

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